The Bomber As Communicator

The Air Force’s future Long Range Strike Bomber is essential to keeping America’s adversaries nervous, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told defense reporters this week in Washington, D.C. During the meeting, Schwartz asked rhetorically why China and Iran have invested vast “national treasure” in air defenses—China in its eastern provinces and Iran around “certain locations” in the country. “They’re not doing this for the fun of it, they’re doing this because they have a sense of vulnerability,” he said. He continued, “And I ask you: What is it that conveys that sense of vulnerability to others? One of those things is long range strike.” Therefore, the capability to attack targets at long range, and through extreme air defenses is something the United States ‘should not concede,” said Schwartz. “And that’s why the LRS-B is relevant and will continue to be relevant,” he asserted. Schwartz said the LRS-B program will have to come in on budget, because “if it doesn’t, we don’t get a program.” Those were the terms from then Defense Secretary Robert Gates in approving the project, said Schwartz. “I get it. Loud and clear. And that guidance still pertains,” he said.